An assemblage of fresh spring peas and an "elixir" of frothy pea soup
An Assemblage of Peas
Makes 2 to 4 servings
- 1 pound peas, different kinds (snow, mange-tout, shelling)
- Salt and freshly ground white pepper
- Butter or olive oil to taste
- Chopped mint, basil, chives, or dill
- String the snow peas and edible-pod peas; shuck any shelling peas.
- Bring a pot of water to a boil, add salt, and drop in the peas. Boil until they're bright green and tender, a minute or two. If you have pea shoots, cook them with the peas.
- Drain, shake dry, then return to the empty pan where they'll finish drying in their heat. Stir in a small piece of butter, a little pepper, and whatever fresh herb appeals to you.
Elixir of Fresh Peas
Makes 4 to 6 servings as a first course
- 1 bunch scallions or 2 small leeks, including 2 inches of the greens, thinly sliced
- 5 large parsley stems, with leaves
- Salt and white pepper
- 1 1/2 pounds English pod peas, bright green and moist looking
- 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh onions or young leeks
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- Truffle oil, a few drops per bowl
- Bring 1 quart water to a boil. As it's heating, add the scallions, parsley, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add about 3 cups of pea pods as you shell them. Once the water comes to a boil, lower the heat. Simmer for 20 minutes, then strain.
- Melt the butter in a soup pot and add the sliced onion. Cook over medium heat for about a minute, then add 1/2 cup of the stock so that the onions stew without browning. After 4 to 5 minutes, add the peas, 1/2 teaspoon salt and the sugar. Pour in 2 1/2 cups of the stock, bring to a boil, and simmer for 3 minutes.
- Transfer the soup to a blender. Drape a towel over the lid, and give a few short pulses to make sure it won't splatter. Then puree at high speed for 1 minute. Pour into small soup bowls and serve immediately, adding a few drops of truffle oil to each bowl.
Chef Deborah Madison notes: This pale green froth of a soup is the essence of fresh peas. Peas can travel in every flavor direction imaginable, but this soup needs nothing, although a few drops of truffle oil are intriguing. Plan to make it just before you serve it, unless you want to serve it chilled. The light, fragrant stock is made while you shuck the peas, and cooking time for the soup is about 4 minutes.
This segment appears in show #2806.
Recipe reprinted from Local Flavors, Broadway Books 2002
© 2002 Deborah Madison
Used with permission